Film: 7412

Politics | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Algeria 4th June 1958

[This film captures one of the most famous political speeches in twentieth-century French history. The occasion was the visit of Charles de Gaulle, the new French Prime Minister, to speak before crowds in Algiers, the centre of an undeclared war pitting French military and security forces against Algerian forces fighting for independence from France.]

The Cross of Lorraine and a 'V' for victory, onto which is superimposed 'Alger 4 Juin 1958'. An aerial shot of Algiers; an enormous crowd has gathered in the centre of the city. Looking upward to airplanes in a cross of Lorraine formation. Flanked by crowds, Charles de Gaulle walks, saluting occasionally, towards the Hotel de Ville in Algiers. General Salan (?) and two other men await de Gaulle on the steps. De Gaulle walking up the steps, past the camera, into the Hotel de Ville. Onlookers in the crowd clapping and cheering vigorously. Looking over a crowd, with people waving small French tricolours in the air; in the foreground are members of the military (paratroopers, perhaps) wearing berets. De Gaulle appears on the balcony, in front of microphones, and raises his arms wide in a 'V'; close-up, he motions upward slightly, as if encouraging the crowd's cheering approval.
Footage of de Gaulle's speech (in its entirety). Looking up at the balcony, from crowd level, as de Gaulle begins with the (now-famous) words, 'Je vous ai compris!' (tr. 'I have understood you!'). A roar of approval from the crowd. De Gaulle standing on the balcony, speaking slowly and deliberately; French flags are draped all around him, and several military and civilian officals stand on the balcony behind him. Cut to shot of the crowd, with French flags very much in evidence. A closer shot of de Gaulle on the balcony: his face is much more clearly visible (though this would not be considered a close-up). People clapping and cheering in the crowd. A sea of head and faces in the crowd; a giant placard of de Gaulle's face is visible. Back to de Gaulle speaking on the balcony, with occasional cuts to shots of cheering crowds clapping and waving flags. Young men shouting and chanting in the crowd. A panning shot, from above, looking down on the enormous crowd. De Gaulle often uses his right arm to motion when emphasising a point. Close-up of two young girls in the crowd. People standing on balconies of nearby buildings. Crowds. A billboard of de Gaulle's face mounted on a building. At the end of his speech, de Gaulle spreads his arms wide and raises them in a 'V'. Close with aerial shots of the crowd.

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